So you have been asked to photograph a friend’s wedding. What is the first thing to do? It is not buying film. First you have to decide what kind of shots your bride and groom want to remember their wedding by. Of course you will be able to give your assistance in this step.

The bride and groom need a few pictures with just the two of them of course. Take a variety of these kinds of shots, and remember that outside nature shots look the best for wedding pictures. The traditional colors of the bride and groom are white and black, which will contrast beautifully with a green background or even a waterfall. Discuss the location of the wedding pictures with the bride and groom and show them some pictures from your portfolio with a variety of backgrounds.

If the wedding is to take place in a city talk about the possibility of going to a park or to a lawn with trees and greens. Take a few shots where the bride and groom are kissing, make them gaze at each other for one or two pictures, and let the groom pick up the bride for a great romantic one. A boat is also a great idea for a picture where the groom will row the bride to the other shore – a picture rich in symbolism and beautiful.

Remember this is the picture they will most likely display and send to friends and relatives so take at least seven or eight shots to give them a variety to choose from. This is also the shot that you might want to consider using special effects on, making it just black and white or making the edges fuzzy.

The next picture group should be the bride’s family with the bride and groom. Take a variety of pictures with the whole family, just the men, and just the women, making the groom and bride the center focal point. Make a picture where the bride shows her wedding band to her sisters and one of the bride and just the parents and one of the bride and mother.

Then the groom’s family has a picture session. Take a few pictures of the whole family surrounding the bride and groom. Again take pictures with just the men and the groom and one with all the women and the bride. Make the groom and bride the focal point again. Have a picture with the groom and his brothers huddled together in a half-circle, seemingly in conversation to convey closeness and joy in the occasion.

Next take a picture of the bride, groom, flower girl(s), and ring bearer(s). Pair up the flower girl and ring bearer and take a variety of shots. The children will require you to be patient to get a few goods, natural shots. Distract the children and make them feel welcome and relaxed. Then take a shot with the bride and the flower girls alone. Have the bride sit in the grass, the dress spread all around her, and have the flower girls sit next to her, showing her their baskets. Then take a photo with just the groom and the ring bearer, maybe with the groom lifting the ring bearer up high or peeking out from a tree.

Then have a photo with the bridal party. The groom and bride should be in the center, the bridesmaids on the side of the bride, and the best men and ushers on the groom’s side. Then mix the group up so each bride’s maid is paired up with the best man/usher. Next, take a few photos of the bride with the bridesmaids, and then a few with just the groom with the best men/ushers.

The next picture should be with the bride and groom with all their closest friends. Have a group photo with all of them, and a few with just the bride and her friends, then a few with the groom and his friends. Mix their positions up a few times and make sure you get a variety of different shot.

Last, have a few pictures of the relatives of the groom with the bridal couple, and then a few with the relatives of the bride and the bridal couple. Then have a large group photo of everyone in the wedding from a far distance off. The best way to do this is to have them all stand on a little hill with some elevation so you can get all their faces in the photo.

Make sure you take at least 5 or six of these pictures since there are so many faces to co-ordinate and you do not want to miss anyone. If there is no hill, make sure you go up on a ladder or somewhere high, make the short people stand at the front, and children sitting and kneeling in the front row. This photo can be enlarged to be able to see everyone.

Throughout the entire wedding make sure that you get all the important events, such as when the groom kisses the bride the first time, when they exchange and sign vows, when the rings are put on, and many other occasions. Always try not to disturb the other guests at the wedding, and sit up at the front, or ask for a special seat close to the ceremony. Take pictures of all the people not just the bride and groom and get the getaway car as the bride and groom are leaving the wedding party.

If the weather is bad, be prepared to bring in a backdrop to make a nice background for the photos. All in all, have a great wedding and give the broom and bride all the negatives so they can decide for themselves which photos they want to get enlarged after you give them a single set of all photos. Take along at least 30 rolls of film and two to three cameras to be on the safe side.

If the weather is bad

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